Hillary Clinton has returned to the top of U.S. headlines in recent weeks. Although Clinton has not really left public life since she lost the last presidential election, her return, and the way in which she has returned, has implications for the upcoming presidential election, which will take place exactly a year from now.
Without proof, Clinton publically accused one of her party’s presidential candidates, Tulsi Gabbard, of being the "favorite of the Russians.” This statement sparked controversy not only because Clinton provided no evidence but also because Gabbard issued an even harsher response.
Gabbard described Clinton as “the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long.”
However, the anger that Clinton’s comments generated among progressive Democrats was not in defense of Gabbard as much as it was anger toward Clinton for reintroducing the story of Russian interference in the last election. When Donald Trump won the presidency, Clinton and her party did not seriously examine the actual reasons for their defeat.
Many people took the easy route, reassuring themselves and placing blame on others. They believe there are several reasons, excluding the terrible campaign Clinton ran, which cost her the popular vote in a number of critical states and led to Trump winning electoral votes.
Clinton and her party identified two reasons for defeat: Russians providing assistance to Trump and the margin of votes won by the Green Party candidate.
The clamor between Clinton and Gabbard was not the only way for Clinton to get back into the headlines. The press reported that Clinton was thinking about jumping into the battle for the presidency at an advanced stage of the race.
Then, Philippe Reines, a senior Clinton adviser, declared Clinton “has not ruled out running in 2020.” Then, he praised Clinton, asserting she is the only person capable of not only defeating Trump but also of governing after his departure from the White House.
However, these comments caused controversy once they became public. Democratic Party leaders, especially in the Senate, immediately cautioned Clinton against a run. Some described the idea as a “mistake,” while others said the Democratic Party has moved beyond Clinton, rendering her ill suited for another campaign.
Clinton has been one of the most controversial, polarizing political figures since the presidency of her husband, Bill Clinton.
Some Americans absolutely despise Hillary Clinton, while others consider her extremely appealing as a political figure. During her husband’s two terms, Clinton played a prominent political role, unlike the roles traditionally played by U.S. first ladies.
For example, as the head of a White House team, First Lady Clinton drafted the Clinton health care plan, which the Republicans quashed in Congress. Then, Republicans used the defeat to win a congressional majority from the Democrats for the first time in 40 years.
American conservatives rejected Hillary Clinton’s role, as they considered her political activity to be outside the duties of a first lady. Then, Clinton assumed important positions, becoming a senator and secretary of state, and her positions during those periods triggered even more intense polarization around her.
Although Clinton started out on the left-leaning side of the Democratic Party, she was her husband’s partner in pushing the Democratic Party to the right and providing major concessions to the U.S. financial sector. That resulted in policies that harmed the fundamental interests of Democratic supporters, including African Americans and the working class. When she was secretary of state, Clinton’s views lined up with those of the most hard-line hawks in the Republican Party.
Perhaps what deserves further reflection is Clinton’s determination to become president of the United States despite launching two failed presidential bids.
In 2008, Clinton jumped into the Democratic primaries. However, Barack Obama easily defeated Clinton because she ran an outdated political campaign, following the same strategy her husband used to win in the 1990s. In 2016, Clinton ran for president again, losing key segments of Democratic voters and thus the presidency.
Amid the intense partisanship in America, the question is whether or not Clinton will gamble with the future of her party and dive into the upcoming presidential battle.